GRAYSON, Ky. — The Tolsia Rebels were trailing by two touchdowns when their game against East Carter High School ended Friday night, but they are hoping that it’s ruled ‘no contest’ after administrators called the game near the end of the third quarter.
Continuing the game would’ve have been a public safety hazard, they said, not because of any virus but referencing two incidents, one on and one off the field during the game that ultimately led to the end of the contest with the Raiders leading 36-21.
“Due to a hostile environment, the administration of ECHS made the decision to clear the stadium and end the football game versus Tolsia for the safety of the players and spectators,” the school tweeted from their account.
Earlier in the third quarter, the Raiders scored a touchdown to go up 28-7 but a late hit out of bounds from a Rebels defender sparked a reaction from the home sideline. Players and coaches then left the sideline, crossed the field and some student athlete’s were directly involved in a fight.
Three Tolsia players were removed from play, meaning they could remain on the sidelines but not participate and one was ejected. Two East Carter players were removed from play and two others ejected.
After the brawl, the Raiders added one score, Tolsia two, but after the Rebels pulled within two possessions of the lead, an incident in the stands stopped the game and after a brief delay, fans were told to leave and the officials told to go home. There were 39 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Tolsia Athletic Director and assistant football coach Wade Cyrus said he’s already contacted the Executive Director of the West Virginia Secondary Schools Athletics Commission and requested that the game be ruled a no contest since there was more than a full quarter left to play when it was halted.
“Bernie Dolan has already reached out the KHSAA for an explanation as to why the game was ended and they are waiting on the report. We’re not asking to be awarded a win but our kids didn’t even get the chance to finish it out,” Cyrus said.
He added that East Carter administrators would not cite any specific incident that led to the games ending.
The stoppage came nine game-minutes after the on field fight. Cyrus said Tolsia has video footage of an opposing fan leaving the stands and making contact with some Rebel players during the on-field incident and that they plan to turn that in to the Carter County Sheriff’s Department for review.
“We’re not blaming this on any of East’s players either. We own up to the late hit, it’s a game and things like that happen. That’s why the referees have flags. But we weren’t out there looking for a fight,” Cyrus said.
He said they are turning over all video evidence they have to the WVSSAC as they ponder a decision. Tolsia coaches are hopeful that the game is made to be like it never happened and that it doesn’t go down as a loss for either team.
“If you’re going to say the fans are the reason (to end the game), go ahead. But leave the kids out of it if that’s the decision you’re going to make. This wasn’t fair to any player out there,” Cyrus added.
KHSAA spokesman Joe Angolia said Saturday evening that the game’s score would be considered as final at the time of stoppage, meaning it would go down as a win for the Raiders, though the WVSSAC can make their own decision on the matter as it relates to Tolsia.
Attempts to reach East Carter Athletic Director Brandon Baker and head coach Tim Champlin for comment were unsuccessful.